Monday 20 November 2017

Fact, fiction and everything in between

When your wife is one of the most successful novelists in the world and the daughter of a former Taoiseach, it might seem particularly important to stake out your own professional territory. And with the release of his new documentary, David Keoghan is finally doing just that. The Long Shot chronicles Keoghan's outlay of half a million Euro in order to assemble a team of horses which he hopes will be able to take on the best in the business.

Keoghan of course had his own form in this department after his horse Lolly for Dolly had him counting the, er, lolly in the winner's circle at Ascot four years ago. The group of horses shown in The Long Shot weren't always as successful, but, for the purposes of building the drama, Keoghan saw that as a good thing.

"If they all turned out as good as Lolly for Dolly it might not have been too exciting", he says. "My trainers had to deal with us putting the camera in his face at 6am and it was the same with the jockey - he had to deal with being filmed up close even when he lost. It went over three years and it got quite frustrating and dark in the middle of it all when the horses weren't winning and I would really have preferred if the camera could have gone away. But we had to continue."

Besides being a documentarian and successful racehorse owner, Keoghan had also spent some of the last decade trying to break into the acting world, winning roles in The Tudors, The Clinic and My Whole Half Life, a German television production of Cecelia's work. Keoghan says that although he stayed in touch with some of the producers of her other works he always leaned toward making documentaries.

"I studied acting and film production and got into acting quite quickly. Through the course of that we had two children and Cecelia is a full-time writer and travels a lot with that, so I didn't pursue the acting as hard as I should have, I got into film-production more. I set up a company four years ago and we produced this and I have two other documentaries in the pipeline."

Cecilia serves as a director on his production company and he on hers and he says there is a synergy between them. "I'm fact and she's fiction. We share all of our ideas together. We're chalk and cheese in terms of what we like on TV or film but it tends to work quite well when we bang our heads together."

Emerging from Cecelia's shadow may be gratifying, but Keoghan says he has always been realistic about the once-in-a-generation success she enjoyed.

"Honestly it was a complete rollercoaster - I was away and she called me to say she got a publishing deal for PS I Love You. She was really happy that she'd have some money to buy a car. Then we heard "40 different countries" being mentioned and all it really took off. I was just so happy to tag along and be a part of that ride. There is no way that I could compete with her wages or her talent."

The couple have two small children, a five-year-old girl named Robin and a boy named Sonny, who turns three this week.

"We share bringing them to school, she brings Robin in the morning and I collect them at lunchtime. When one of us is travelling the other is at home. I'm fine spending five days at home with my kids, they're definitely a full-time job soon." Will they have more? "Well never say never but these two keep us busy so I think we're fine for now."

And while factual television is his passion, there is one show he won't have tuned in for - it's his father-in-law, Bertie Ahern, at the banking inquiry. "Well, I won't watch it because I'm going to be overseas. It think everything that might be said has been pre-empted this past weekend in the newspapers."

'The Long Shot' will be shown on RTE1 on Tuesday July 28 at 9.35pm

Sunday Independent

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